Touching Up Iron Man

My therapist insists that my desire to 'read' comics in a language I cannot understand is indicative of a conflict-adverse pattern: if I can never *completely* read something, I can evade the disagreements that arise from adopting a firm position on matters of taste, thus avoiding pain. Likewise, the act of composing a dubious metaphoric 'response' to the week's Mark Millar controversy allows me to benefit from the cheap heat generated by a goofy-ass New Republic profile -- one not concerned with (or cognizant of) Millar's forebears enough to note that a SIICKKKK idea like "What if the U.S. government started giving away superpowers as a recruitment tool?" was straight-lifted from the likes of Marshal Law -- while foreclosing on the complexities of direct confrontation with touchy emotional and political issues, thus avoiding pain.

That's Joe McCulloch talking, and his therapist sounds pretty smart. This week, before offering his customary roundup of the highlights of the Week in Comics, follows his neuroses while providing a tour of unusual manga and comics moments which Mark Millar's recent New Republic profile, like a nibble of Proust's Madeleine, has conjured in Joe's mind.

As the more astute readers among you will have noticed by now, Dan is on holiday, and so you'll have to bear with me on the blog all week. Last summer, when I took a vacation, Dan seized the opportunity to crack the internet in half by way of an unexpected rant, coining a minor catchphrase in the process. I don't have any similar plans, but it would be nice to have some kind of surprise waiting for Dan when he returns, so I'm open to suggestions...


—Jillian Kirby, Jack Kirby's granddaughter, takes to the L.A. Times to launch and explain a new Kirby4Heroes fundraising campaign for the Hero Initiative:

One example of my grandfather Jack’s charitable nature can be seen in an anecdote my father shared with me on many occasions. It took place during the Bar Mitzvah of my grandfather’s nephew in a Lower East Side Manhattan synagogue in the early 1960s. After the service, his nephew’s family, being of modest means, had just a simple buffet served in the large entrance foyer of the synagogue. Noticing a homeless man standing in the open doorway, just looking in at the celebration, my grandfather Jack immediately walked over to the man, took him by the arm, led him into the room, sat him down at a table and served him a plate of food. Not a word was spoken between the two men.

My grandfather, himself having grown up in poverty, knew hunger. This act of kindness, typical of my grandfather, inspired me to raise money and awareness for the Hero Initiative, because a charity that helps others in the comic book community and gives aid to those in need exemplifies the devotion my grandfather Jack always had for his fellow man.

—The late, great Bill Blackbeard on Harry Tuthill's The Bungle Family:

As a work of narrative comic art, The Bungle Family effectively went unseen over its quarter-century span except on the daily and Sunday comic pages of American newspapers, with no shelvable record or cinematic adaptation of any kind. Yet the strip appeared in hundreds of papers with virtually no drops from its early years through the ’40s, when Tuthill closed it down to almost universal protests from readers and editors, yielding to their entreaties once for a revival run of a few years, then retiring it firmly in 1945 for good. (For two more decades, Tuthill lived quietly as the wealthy squire of tiny Ferguson, Mo., relishing his days away from drawing-board demands, never knowing the attention that still unborn comic-strip fandom would have brought him from the ’60s on—and perhaps not caring.)

—Sequential Highway interviews publisher Annie Koyama, and Paul Gravett talks to artist Gareth Brookes.

—Chris Randle writes about Suehiro Maruo's Strange Tale of Panorama Island for Hazlitt, and Rob Kirby rounds up recent-ish queer comics and zines of note at his blog.

—Frank Santoro told me to link to this Faith Erin Hicks comic, and I always follow Frank's advice (within reason).

—Finally, in this video, Richard Lea of The Guardian visits the 2000AD offices.